Energy and the Brain

SHIRT & TIE w.out white background (final)It’s time to take a closer look at physical and spiritual energy. We are energy beings. Right down to the atoms and molecules that make up our cells, we are in constant motion. We are constantly changing. If we are to truly understand our self as a physical and spiritual being, and use this knowledge to grow and expand, we have to understand the nature of the energy by which we breathe, think, and have our being.  There is no better place to start than with the human brain.

The brain uses more energy than any other human organ accounting for up to 20 percent of the body’s total energy requirements. The source of energy that powers the human brain is mainly sugar, more specifically – glucose. Glucose is a hydrocarbon that is broken down with the help of additional oxygen (which we get through breathing) to create ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is responsible for energy transfer in the human brain.

After reading the complex scientific information on ATP, it appears to act like an enzyme which is responsible for the binding of metals, predominantly magnesium, which then act as catalysts for the creation of protein strands and the breaking down of glucose. In the process, it creates an abundance of hydrogen ions which provides the energy for flow of information between neurons.  ATP supplies the energy required for these ions to traverse cell membranes thereby initiating many biological processes that keep our neurons firing.[1] When the accumulation of hydrogen ions increases the voltage in a neuron, the neurotransmitters are released firing an electrochemical impulse across the synapse to the dendrites of the neighboring neuron. The ATP then goes to work resetting the neurons to negative, through transfer of Sodium ions (which we get from salt) back across the membrane, making it more positive, and resulting in the uptake of the neurotransmitter back into the sending neuron. The neighboring dendrites where neurotransmitters are released do the same to the next neuron.

These chemical processes take a great deal of energy. During active mind activity, two thirds of the energy is used to fuel electrical impulses that neurons employ to communicate with one another. The remaining third is used for “housekeeping,” or cell-health maintenance.  When the brain is inactive, during sleep or relaxation (meditation), the process changes to about 50% for maintenance, thus resupplying the neurons with ATP and ions for future brain activity. This information indicates that we need to provide sufficient rest through relaxation periods throughout the day, especially if we are involved in high neocortex activity which includes most of us working in today’s information occupations in our western culture.

This is all fine in a healthy mind in a healthy environment where stages of brain activity are followed by brain maintenance; however, what happens when this does not occur. One study using brain scans showed the inferior parietal cortex (IPC), an area that helps us control the amount of energy we use, becomes deactivated when people felt they were being observed. In other words, if we feel comfortable with the people around us, the system continues to perform well, but if we’re concerned about how others are feeling about us, our performance deteriorates. This suggests that prolonged stress caused by unhealthy social relationships can affect our ability to employ and restore our brain energy systems. The brain will continue to employ its problem solving structures to restore balance, but if it is unable to do so, the mind will be unable to relax and restore the ATP and ions needed for thought and action.  Over an extended period of time this can lead to chemical breakdown and possible depression.

In another study, Cambridge[2] researchers found that when we are involved in intensive thought processes, the brain will place its own energy needs above the energy requirements of the rest of the body.  Again, over a prolonged period of time, this can create problems with the heart, which also requires a great deal of energy, and our immune system, which is responsible for healing and regeneration of other organs. This can lead to disease and the growth of cancerous tissue. In addition, the continued employment of the sympathetic nervous system creates high levels of salt in the blood stream which can lead to interference with ion transfer in the brain, and increased blood pressure in the body which is dangerous for heart failure and strokes.

Here are my five applications for bisexuals (and everyone else for that matter):

  1. First of all, we have to take good care of our minds with frequent periods of relaxation and mind rest. We can do this simply by learning to read the anxiety levels of our mind when the brain is overloaded. Once we become conscious of our mind states we can learn to provide it with sufficient rest.
  2. When we feel high levels of anxiety, we stop what we are doing and relax. Sometimes this will be a brief meditation where we concentrate on our breathing until the negative feelings dissolve.
  3. If the anxiety has transferred to the body through the sympathetic system, we may have to release this negative flow of body energy by physical exercise. A half hour brisk walk, where we concentrate on our surroundings and squelch our minds problem solving desires, usually does the trick.
  4. If this anxiety occurs whenever we engage in the same stressful activity or relationship, we may have to do an inventory and decide if this is the job or relationship that we really want to engage in. We must be prepared to make life changes to protect the energy system of our minds. If we are unable to make those decisions on our own, we may need to have someone help us through the process. We should take a leave of absence and find a good therapist.
  5. We need to pay special attention to our sex life as it can be a source of great pleasure and stress release or a cause of great anxiety. We have to be sure that our sexual behavior leads to and ends in the pleasure reward system without accompanying shame and anxiety. We may need to change our behavior or the way we think about it, or we may need to change our sex partners. Again, if we cannot seem to do this on our own, we may need professional help.

 

  1. Where Does The Human Brain Get Its Energy? Forbes – Whoa Science (https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/03/06where-does-the-human-brain-)
  2. Nikhil Swaminathan, Why Does the Brain Need So Much Power? Scientific America (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-does-the-brain-need-s/)

 

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